ROCO TO NAME 'LULI' TO DFA POST IF HE WINS IN MAY

MANILA, April 1, 2004
 
(STAR)
By Jerry Botial - One of the first orders of business for Raul Roco if he wins the presidency in May is the appointment of the daughter of his rival to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

"Luli, now you can get what you want" — this is what the Alyansa ng Pag-asa standard-bearer said he would tell presidential daughter Lourdes Evangeline "Luli" Arroyo, a foreign service exam topnotcher, if he defeats Luli’s mother President Arroyo and three other rivals in the May 10 elections.

Roco revealed this over lunch in Malabon City yesterday. The Malabon stop was part of a motorcade campaign in the Caloocan-Malabon-Navotas-Valenzuela area made by Roco and the other Alyansa bets.

"If blessed by the Filipino people, we will appoint her to the foreign service. One of the few, immediately after (assuming office). No question in my mind. She topped the FS (exams). She’s bright. She wants the job? She likes it? She’s interested? Luli should be appointed by the next president," he said.

Roco added that the President’s only daughter is a good friend and fondly calls him "Tito Raul." He said they have been neighbors with the Macapagal-Arroyos, some 150 meters away from the Roco residence, since 1981 at La Vista subdivision in Quezon City.

Mrs. Arroyo’s former education secretary said Luli could fit well the ambassadorial post either in China or in Europe, both choice assignments.

"Magaling yan si Luli, ah. Sayang at ’di siya inappoint," Roco said, referring to the President’s refusal to sign her daughter’s appointment papers as a career officer at the DFA shortly after topping the foreign service exams sometime in 2002.

The compliment came after Roco was asked to comment on Luli’s barbed shot directed at her mother’s critics, saying they did not know what governance is all about.

The remark apparently stemmed from her annoyance over the rush of disqualification cases being filed against Mrs. Arroyo by her detractors.

"She was not applying it to me," Roco said, confident not only in his ability to govern but also to appoint people like Luli Arroyo.

The President’s only daughter had said the other day at a forum in Pampanga that she would have to put her career on hold if her mother wins a fresh six-year term.

"It’s a matter of principle," Luli, the second of three Arroyo children, said of her non-appointment to the DFA under an Arroyo administration.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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